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Distinct Between Indus Valley Civilization and its Contemporary Civilization

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The oldest civilization of the Asian subcontinent was the Indus Valley Civilization and flourished in the northern region of the Indian subcontinent. The existence of the Indus Valley Civilization spanned from the year 3300 to 1300 BC and the Mesopotamian, the Egyptian, and the Mayan civilization flourished contemporary to it in different parts of the world. The Mesopotamian civilization flourished in the area of the modern-day middle-east part, the Egyptian civilization in modern-day Egypt, and the Mayan civilization prospered in the isolated American continent. The Indus valley civilization is likewise referred to as the Harappan civilization. The civilizations grew in almost the same period but were distinct from each other in many ways like the Egyptians and the Mayans witnessed the construction of the Pyramids whereas there is no evidence of any Pyramid structure in the Indus Valley Civilization and the Mesopotamian civilization. There was a lack of evidence of temples as a place of worship in the Indus Valley Civilization, unlike others. Unlike the Indus valley civilization, Kingdoms arose in the Mesopotamian and the Egyptian civilization.

Geographical Extent

The Indus Valley Civilization is named after the river system it was located around which is now modern-day Northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northwest India while the oldest civilization ever, the Mesopotamian civilization (the cradle of civilizations), emerged between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East more specifically in modern-day Iraq and Kuwait. The Egyptian civilization grew in the lower reaches of the Nile River and what is currently modern-day Egypt while the Mayan civilization was one of the most prosperous pre-colonial peoples in the Americas.  The Harappa civilization alone was larger than the combined area of Egypt and Mesopotamia.


The Indus Valley Civilization left behind two of its major cities Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. The leavings of those towns displays wonderful organization, engineering, city planning, and structure for his or her time. Both cities were built on a grid-based design and their buildings were made of bricks: clay bricks in Harappa and fired and mortared brick in Mohenjo Daro. In fact, it’s the largest city of this civilization and one of the largest urban centers of the ancient world. The city was split into regions the Citadel and the Lower City. The Citadel contains one of the most remarkable archeological remnants of the city, an 83 square meter bathing pool called the Great Bath. These types of well-structured towns and cities were not seen in other contemporary civilizations instead they made their cities complex.

Drainage System

Sanitation, sewage management, and water systems are three things that the people of the Indus River Valley Civilization had in check. Mohenjo-Daro alone had 700 freshwater wells inside its walls, but the most remarkable development of the Indus River Valley civilization was its drainage system. Most buildings and homes had their own bathrooms which were in turn connected to a centralized drainage system connected by several break-made underground drains. The drainage system of the Mesopotamian civilization was very complex in nature while Egyptians were using copper pipes to drain water.


The Mesopotamians created the code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest and best-preserved written legal codes created by king Hammurabi who reigned from 1792 to 1750 BC during the Babylonian dynasty. This kind of law is known as “Lex talionis” or the law of retaliation. The Code of Hammurabi covered 282 laws carved onto the diorite Stela covering, agriculture property damage, murder, marital affairs, extramarital affairs, women’s rights, slave rights, wages, and many more whereas, in the Indus Valley Civilization people almost treated themselves as equal and also had some laws like social laws, human laws, and personal laws. Laws made during the Indus Valley Civilization were not like as Mesopotamians as Indus’ laws did not deal with murder, marital affairs, etc.


All the civilizations of the ancient world developed their own style of writing system. Cuneiform text, which is one of the earliest writing systems in human history, was developed in the Mesopotamian civilization while the writing system of the Indus River Valley Civilization is known as the Indus script though no one has been able to decipher their script. Mesopotamians were also dabbling in metalwork literature textile, lacking in the Indus Valley Civilization. The Hieroglyphic writing system is the only writing system developed by a Mesoamerican civilization and their calendar systems were extremely accurate while the calendar system used during the Indus Valley Civilization was the Lunar calendar which was not accurate as it made years 354 days long.


There is no clear idea about the political organization of the Indus Valley people. The steatite statue of the priest-king suggests that the Indus valley human beings had been greater worried about trade and that they had been dominated with the aid of using a category of merchants. The Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, and the Mayans witnessed the rise of kingdoms (small or large) in their spanned period. The throne or property was inherited by the daughter in Egypt but lack of evidence of a matriarchal system in the Indus Valley.

Pyramids and Temples

At the same time, Mohenjo-Daro was being constructed, around 5,800 km west, pyramids were being raised in Egypt. The Old Kingdom of the Egyptian civilization spanned from 2613 BC to 2181 BC and is also known as the age of the pyramid builders as the Pyramids of Giza were built during this period. The Indus Valley did not witness the construction of pyramids, however, the Mayans also constructed the pyramids in the jungles of Central America and were also used as landmarks to aid in navigation. Most of the pyramids of the Mayans had divine and astronomical purposes.

The Mayans were heavily religious and their art and architecture were deeply connected to their beliefs. The Mayan people built complex temples without modern inventions like the wheel. If we see the historical evidence of the Indus Valley Civilization, they used to worship Pashupati, Peepal trees, animals like elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, and bulls. Serpent worship was also very familiar in the Indus valley civilization. There were no shreds of evidence of temples in this civilization.

Burnt bricks and Science

The Harappan people used burnt bricks remarkably in the construction of buildings, while Egyptians at the same time were using dried bricks. There is evidence of using burnt bricks in Mesopotamia too but were to a lesser extent in comparison to The Indus Valley people. The houses were made of burnt bricks in the Indus Valley Civilization while dried bricks were used when pyramids were constructed in Egypt.

The Sexagesimal math system was developed by Mesopotamians but the Mayans were exceptional at mathematics too while mathematics was unknown in Indus Valley. The Mayans were also predicting celestial movements while there was no evidence of these in Indus Valley. Egyptians were also good with the history of timekeeping such as Sundials, the water clocks, and the division of the days. No remains of timekeeping are found in data of the Indus valley civilization.


The Harappan civilization covered an area much larger than that of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. Also, there is no clear idea about the political organization of the Indus Valley people. The laws that were made in the Mesopotamian civilization were also unknown in the Indus Valley Civilization. Burnt bricks had been used remarkably inside the construction of homes in Harappa. Unlike the Egyptians, the Indus Valley Civilization had done nothing with the history of timekeeping. Unlike the Mayans, the style of eye astronomy was absent in the Indus Valley people. Unlike other civilizations of its time, the Indus Valley did not observe the construction of temples. Because of different geographies and limited networking, these civilizations differ in sociocultural practices and even progress. The civilization of the Indus Valley was not only the first urban center but also a progressive society.

Last Updated : 10 Sep, 2023
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